Police departments in South Carolina could no longer set monthly quotas for tickets or citations under a proposal that reached the state House floor this week.
The measure that passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday bars law enforcement agencies from requiring their officers write a certain number of tickets or citations per month. Police departments in South Carolina deny using quotas, but that has not stopped accusations that officers are being encouraged to be aggressive in their enforcement of minor violations.
State Rep. Justin Bamberg, said he understands that some small departments need the money from stops, but argues it hurts the public trust when officers seek excuses to write tickets. “When they have to look for petty things, they end up stopping people for things they probably shouldn’t stop them for,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “Sometimes these traffic stops… can have unintended consequences for various reasons.”
Bamberg is one of the attorneys representing the family of the late Walter Scott, who was shot in the back and killed after a struggle with a North Charleston officer following a traffic stop for a broken tail-light.
The measure includes whistleblower protections for officers who report potential illegal quota systems. It cleared committee in a unanimous 16-0 vote.
Bamberg said he has gotten positive support so far, since law enforcement agencies publicly state they do not set quotas for their officers. “I think if you ask most law enforcement officers, they despise quota systems,” he said. “So, ever since filing, I have not received any pushback.”
The House will likely vote on the measure next week. It must leave the House bound for the Senate before May 1 for a realistic chance of passing this year.